Monday, November 10, 2008

Children of the Night - David Stuart Davies

The Vampire, more than any other creature of gothic folklore, has been defined by the fiction written about it. This book contains many of the short stories that were defining moments in Vampire lore. The first to mention staking a vampire, the first female vamp, talk of burying them at a crossroads minus their heads, the first where they shapeshift. For true vampire lovers, this book is a must read. There are a total of 12 tales in this book beginning with the "Vampire of Croglin Hall", and then moving on to such famous tales as "Varney the Vampyre," "The Curse of the Vourdalack," "Carmilla", and "The Horla." There is even an excerpt from Stoker's "Dracula" titled "Dracula and the Three Brides" which is in my oppinion, one of the most horrific scenes in that illustrious novel. Each of these tales is by a different author, and they range in time from the mid 1800's through Edith Wharton's Bewitched which was written in the 1900's. I am not counting the story of "The Welcome Visitor" which was written by the man who compiled these tales... it is not up to the quality of the other stories that inhabit this fine collection. My personal favorite is "The Curse of the Vourdalak" which I immediately recognized as the foundation for the beginning of almost every modern Vampire tale (you can see it is almost identical to the opening of McCammon's Vampire tale "They Thirst"). I also had a fondness for "Carmilla" which was odd because it was so clear to me what would happen. I could not even imagine the horror readers must have felt reading these stories for the first time back when they were written. In this day and age we have been bombarded by Vampire tales and movies... but the horror that readers must have felt back in the 1800's when they read these for the first time must have been amazing. Each of these stories is deserving of a read by itself, but to have them all compiled together in a single book makes this a must own for any fan of the Vampire legend. You will not find your debonair, suave vampires who woo women with their charms... instead you will find the horror of destroyed villages, children hiding in their beds as beasts lurk through their towns, women wasting away in terror from unknown assailants, men being stalked by invisible beings who drain their life as they sleep. If you are looking for a quick and easy read, this is not it... having been written in the late 1800's through early 1900's, the language will take a bit to sink in. Once it does you will regret that we have long ago lost the beauty of our language.

Children of the Night (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural)

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